America first

CRI_151227In today’s Wall Street Journal “Sightings” column, I outline my plan for a compulsory year-long nationwide high-school course called “The American Experience in Art.” In lieu of an excerpt from the column, here are the works on my proposed syllabus:

• Two full-length novels, Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! and Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men

• One short novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

• Two plays, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie

• A selection of poems by Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Langston Hughes

• One group of paintings, Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, studied in conjunction with a selection of recordings by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington

• One dance, Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring (music by Aaron Copland)

• One musical, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (choreography by Jerome Robbins, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

• Three films, John Ford’s The Searchers, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (music by Bernard Herrmann) and William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives

Read the whole thing here.

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A 1959 performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company of Appalachian Spring:

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